My New Zealand

The first online series in Chinese, for Chinese, by a Kiwi

Are your Facebook friends really friends?

Turns out Kiwis are becoming more sociable on Facebook – our average friend count has gone up in the last year.

Does this mean we’re getting more friendly? Not necessarily.

The NZ Herald’s Moana Tapaleao asked me whether Facebook is becoming a bigger part of our life, and whether people are making “Facebook-only” friends or just people they know in “real life”.

My response:

“It’s becoming an assumption that you’ve got to be on [Facebook] … the fact that everyone else is on there, makes other people want to be on there.

“Most people are a little bit like me – fairly open – there’s friends that you actually know, there’s strangers and then acquaintances who are people who you haven’t actually met but know a lot about through [what they’ve posted on] Facebook.

“Other people are just horrified at that and they just want people who they spend time with.”

I really get puzzled at the horrified response from some people. It’s almost a kind of racism against “online people” – treating strangers that you only know online as some entirely other species. It’s important to remember that they are, after all, human beings. However I suspect the horror has more to do with people’s own feelings of overwhelm and fear of the unknown.

Read the full story here, and check out the interesting poll (also pictured above) that accompanied the story.

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